When it comes to
dessert, it’s usually all or nothing. You’re either a dessert person or you’re
not. The Two Girls are definitely in the pro-dessert camp. So it was with great
pleasure we accepted an invitation from TasTAFE to attend one of their new
master classes, Divine Desserts.
This Girl is not afraid
of a dessert recipe, Zumbo notwithstanding. But instruction and experiential
learning beats reading books hands down.
beginners, the success of Divine Desserts is that it demystifies the
restaurant-quality dessert. An impressive dessert can be created from three or
so, easy to make, component parts, most of which can be made ahead of time and
assembled when needed.
Instructor David Hobba
had us in as soon as we arrived. He’s not a patch on the angry Swiss pastry
chef he was taught by. David is easy going, calm, knowledgeable and flexible,
adapting as he goes to the skill of the class. He recommends that you find some
dessert cookbooks you like and experiment with constructing a dessert by using
different components from various recipes. Combine colours and textures, but
complement flavours. Adding raspberry coulis can be a big kick in the pants to more
delicate desserts that benefit from something more subtle.
Marketed as a
demonstration class we were fortunate enough to have an instructor passionate
about the lived experience. In this class you will cook, you will watch and you
will construct desserts made with components you’ve made, and others that have
been made ahead to save time.
We made salted caramel
crème anglaise ice cream; white chocolate mousse; banana pudding, and we baked
and curled tuille. We watched as David poached pears, turned crème anglaise
into icecream in a commercial icecream maker and fast chill freezer and
whipped up a dacquoise. He gave us guidance over brulee topping, making glaze
and provided good advice on plating up.
We came away with
- rosewater crème brulee
with rhubarb done three ways and pine nut wafers
- white chocolate mousse
with poached pear, honey tuiles, white chocolate filigree and hazelnut
- banana pudding with
salted caramel icecream, macadamia shortbread, mirror glaze and cinnamon cream.
And as he talked
through these recipes, he encouraged the class to think about how else the
components could be constructed, mix and match, and the use of moulds and shapes
to make a unique dessert.
Here are some of the
things we learnt:
- Turning sugar into caramel
isn’t something to be scared of, it just takes patience and concentration and a
super clean pan so you won’t get sticking and burnt bits.
- Add a little water to
your egg yolks if you find them drying out.
- The signs that an
anglaise is ready include: there will be less foam, the mixture will be
glossier and of course, it sticks to the back of your spoon.
- You don’t need overripe
bananas to bake with. Instead, bake ripe bananas in their skin then mash them up,
it really intensifies the banana flavour.
- Don’t over-sugar your
brulee -there needs to be enough sugar to form a crust but not too much that
you can’t melt it without melting the brulee.
The Two Girls enjoyed
the chance to cook in a commercial kitchen with oodles of bench tops, ovens and
cooktops, fridge and freezer space and heavy bottomed saucepans of all sizes.
The class runs from
5:30 - 9:30pm and cost $140. It includes a sit down dessert eating experience
and you’ll take home as many leftovers as you can carry. Bring a bag.
As we noted earlier,
The Two Girls got Devine Desserts as a freebie but the approach of the class,
coverage and experience is worth doing again. We recommend this class and are
keen to go back.
For more information on
the TasTAFE master classes visit their website.
Find David Hobba on